‘Small’ and ‘Little’ are two words that are often confused with as they mean the same. This lesson clears out the confusion and helps you to use these two words correctly.
‘Small’ is used to talk about ‘height’ or ‘size’
For example : John is small for his age. (here it means he isn’t tall enough for his age)
For example : The box is small. (it is describing its size).
‘Small’ is used with nouns :
For example : I have a small amount of wine. (always use ‘amount’ for ‘uncountable nouns’)
For example : A small number of people came to work. (always use ‘number’ with ‘countable nouns’)
Comparative and Superlative forms :
For example : Mary is smaller than John. (‘smaller’ is the comparative form)
For example : Mary is the smallest girl in the class. (‘smallest’ is the superlative form)
‘Little’ is similar to young :
For example : Maria is a little girl (it describes her of being ‘young’)
‘Little’ is used with ‘uncountable nouns’ :
For example : I have a little wine every night.
For example : I had a little trouble with my car.
In the above two example, ‘wine’ and ‘trouble’ are uncountable nouns. ‘Little’ is used only with ‘uncountable nouns’ when you want to say ‘not enough’.
‘Little’ is used to talk about the Degree of Adjective : There are no ‘comparative’ and ‘superlative’ forms of ‘little’.
For example : She is a little fat.
For example : John is a little tired.
In the above two examples, ‘fat’ and ‘tired’ are adjectives (describing words), ‘little’ is used to modify the adjectives so as to imply ‘not too much’.